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President of the BNTU Says Teachers are Ready to Return to the Classroom

The increase in revenues is just one signal that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. However, there is cautious optimism in the education system. That’s because it’s just a matter of time Belize records its first case of COVID-19’s Omicron variant. But even with that reality, Prime Minister John Briceno has made it quite clear that schools must reopen. Cabinet decided that after careful deliberation, consultations and preparations the education system is returning to hybrid learning on January 10, 2022.* This is expected to allow Government’s health officials *to better prepare for the emergence of the Omicron variant. National President of the Belize National Teachers’ Union Senator Elena Smith says that teachers are ready to return to the classrooms but under safe conditions.

Senator Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “So those schools who would have been given green light would be opening but not all of them would be opening fully as I said previously. It depends on the space that you have, the number of students so there may be some schools who might be having lesser sessions maybe Monday – Wednesday, Tuesday— Thursday that kind of thing and some might still be doing online, still doing the hybrid approach to ensure that they accommodate all of their students. So the ministry then is expecting for schools to apply. The ministry is going to be working on those I suppose over the holiday applications and to provide that feedback but if there is any school that really and truly you’re not prepared then when they fill out that application they would indicate all of those things that the ministry can then say you’re not ready yet let us see how we can help you, help the management to help the schools to be able to be ready because we understand that our children need to be back in school it’s not that we don’t understand that we fully understand that but we have to also pay attention to what is happening on the ground, how prepared are our students, our schools and being able to keep our students and teachers safe upon their return and that has always been the concern,. Not that we don’t want return but that we want to ensure that we can return safely, keep our children safe keep our teachers safe. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what people say about us those are our children and we care for them just the same way we care for our own children and we have to ensure their safety that is a part of our responsibility to ensure their safety. And so our teachers and our administrators must ensure that once they’re given the green light it’s because they are capable of keeping those children safe while they’re at school.”